McSally Joins President Trump at White House for Signing of Crucial Veterans Affairs Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Representative Martha McSally joined President Trump at the White House this afternoon for the signing of the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act, which she championed in the House of Representatives. Nicknamed the VA MISSION Act, this critical legislation streamlines community care programs and expands the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 Caregiver Program to veterans of all wars.
For over four years, the Veterans Choice Program has allowed eligible veterans to secure access to care from community providers when VA care is not readily available. However, the program was one of seven community care programs that were duplicative and conflicting, often creating confusion for veterans looking to utilize them. The VA MISSION Act consolidates these programs into one easy-to-use system. By minimizing bureaucracy and improving efficiency, this legislation will provide veterans in rural and urban areas of Arizona with better care and better access to the health services they have earned.
“Congress was asleep at the wheel in 2014 when the public learned as many as forty veterans may have died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA in my home state of Arizona,” Rep. McSally said. “Sadly, mismanagement and time manipulations were not confined to Arizona, but were systemic throughout the VA nationwide. Thankfully, individuals like Steven Cooper, a veteran who sued the Phoenix VA for breach of the duty and standard of care, stood up and took action to right these wrongs and shine light on a culture of corruption and neglect. This suit helped kickstart VA reform. When I came to Congress, my two main goals were to ensure those responsible for this gross negligence were held accountable and that reforms were properly implemented and working for our veterans. The provisions contained in the VA MISSION Act will increase transparency and ensure veterans have better access to care – a strong next step toward achieving both these goals.”
Also in attendance at the signing ceremony was Arizona veteran Steven Cooper. Following a negligent failure by the VA to diagnose Mr. Cooper with prostate cancer, he sued the Phoenix VA in 2015 for breach of the duty and standard of care. Mr. Cooper won the suit and was awarded $2.5 million in March 2017 after a U.S. magistrate judge found that his now-terminal cancer would have been curable had the VA hospital in Phoenix diagnosed it properly. Rep. McSally presented Mr. Cooper with one of President Trump’s ceremonial signing pens in the Rose Garden as a way of honoring his courage and commitment to protecting veterans everywhere.
The VA MISSION Act also: strengthens the VA’s workforce and recruitment; enforces safe opioid prescription standards; and expands the caregiver program to veterans of any era. This legislation also builds on the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which was passed with Rep. McSally’s support in 2017.
President Trump Hands Rep. McSally Pen Following the Signing of the VA Mission Act
Rep. McSally With Steven Cooper, Rima Cooper, and Vice President Pence
Rep. McSally and Steven Cooper Take Questions About the Importance of the VA Mission Act